Collaboration among members of all teams is critical in any effective business. Regardless of the industry, team members of any company are going to need to communicate, collaborate, and share data if they want business actions to run smoothly and strategic goals to be achieved.
Unfortunately streamlining such communications isn’t always simple, and as companies continue to expand, products and data streams it only gets more complex.
As SKUs and specifications grow it is imperative that companies convey these changes and expansions in real time and to all stakeholders.
And although it's complex, with the right specification management tools, sharing data and increasing proactive communication will become effortless for any company.
How Specification Management Tools Help Streamline Communication
Now you may be asking yourself,
“What does specification management have to do with communication?”
The answer is just about everything.
With new product development, engineering, quality assurance, and any other projects, teams are going to have to work cross-functionally to complete initiatives. This means breaking down silos and ensuring that everyone has access to the data and information they need.
Specification Management solutions, like Specright’s patented, cloud-based platform, is the optimal data management system to assist companies in centralizing all specifications related to their packaging or products, all in one location.
This makes it easier for team members to access the information they need for more strategic decision-making and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication, mistakes, or confusion.
These mistakes happen historically on channels, like email, messaging systems, and phone calls, making it even more crucial for companies to have one source of truth where they can go to get the accurate, real-time data needed for new projects.
This one source of accurate information is especially important because project scopes often change.
As any company knows, changes in projects can happen unexpectedly, which can create confusion and require additional communication to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Companies that are not using adequate specification data management software to house critical product and packaging data will struggle to track these changes as they occur.
Tackling Communication Challenges with Specification Management
With endless communication styles and formats, information and messages can often be lost in translation. Endless emails often go unread or are not quickly addressed, version control issues arise with shared drives and spreadsheets. The list goes on…
Whether it's internal communication between employees or external communication between team members and customers or suppliers, clear communication is critical for success.
Specifically, when it comes to new project management members of teams are going to need a common language to build out the project, and in most cases, the common language available to all team members is the data.
This means that when inaccurate or unstructured data is shared and used between teams, this common language is lost, leading to misunderstandings, re-work, and communication mishaps.
Miscommunication related to inaccurate data sharing is a huge waste of time and money, and can negatively affect the success and relationships between internal teams.
Human error is inevitable, but minimizing it as much as possible is why specification management tools are so valuable.
In order to share project elements and goals with everyone in a company, software solutions that track product and packaging specifications in real time are crucial.
This data also allows for KPIs and metrics to be tracked and updated continuously, enabling businesses to pinpoint project successes and pain points - enabling teams to make the necessary changes the next time around.
Challenges of Streamlining Communication
Challenges related to streamlining communication look different for every company, although a few stand out as prominent in businesses of all industries.
Right off the bat, specifications and requirements can be complex and difficult to understand. This means that when they are not clearly defined, team members may have trouble understanding what is expected of them. This can lead to re-work or human error, which hinders efficiency gains and can directly impact your business’s bottom line.
This lack of clarity, stemming from unfamiliar communication styles can lead to many cross-functional and relational issues across employees. In return, this may negatively affect the user experience, downstream.
In the absence of digitized and standardized data, streamlined communication is exponentially more complex. This is because, without consistency, different team members may find that they are working off different data sets - leading to uncommon data languages.
By using a common data set, everyone in the company can work from the same information, ensuring that everyone has a shared understanding of project specifications, timelines, and goals.
Additionally, a synced data language can provide a single-source-of-truth for communication. And with streamlined communication comes a huge reduction in confusion and miscommunication when discussing project data.
Communication goes beyond just internal communication but it extends to other stakeholders and external partners. And the absence of standardized data sets for all parties makes it more difficult to locate errors and make changes as needed. Teams may also find that without unified data, informed decision-making is much more complex.
In order to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork, productive businesses should lean on the right tools for specification management.
Benefits of Streamlining Communications with Specification Management Tools
The benefits that come out of streamlining communications with specification management tools reach far and wide.
A standout benefit of using master data management systems is the ability to track changes in real-time. No longer do teams have to wait around for other members to send them spreadsheets or data to do their job - all the data is in the cloud.
This means that multiple people can work on the same project and specification simultaneously, all while adding any necessary changes that can be immediately visible to everyone.
Technology also allows for these changes to be visible and tracked historically, so referencing back to changes isn’t a roadblock to future innovation.
By streamlining communication and providing real-time updates, specification management tools can help speed up the development lifecycle of new products, improve accuracy, and reduce potential delays.
As regulations increase in every industry, it is crucial that companies ensure that all related products and services are meeting these standards. With the proper specification management tools, businesses can provide a clear record of changes to specifications and other project information, making auditing and compliance reporting easier and more accurate.
And all this boils down to enhanced accountability on all team members to input adequate specifications into specification management software. With these business practices in place, companies will find an improvement in risk management and mitigation of any costly mistakes in the future.
Tracking specifications over time and in real-time also allows for constant team collaboration, creating a more interconnected community in any business. It allows your team to focus on the important work, and not on chasing data.
At the end of the day, regardless of industry, companies implementing specification management software into their communication will see improved collaboration and efficiency, inevitably improving speed-to-market, innovation, and customer experience and in return drive profitability.
Implementing Communication Workflows in Specification Management Platforms
For Specification Management platforms to function effectively, buy-in from all key stakeholders is required.
Companies should work to identify who needs to be involved in the communication workflow, from team members and stakeholders to external partners. Checks and balances, when it comes to revision management, approvals, and quality assurance, again, are critical to the success of business growth.
After this is determined teams should learn how to implement the software appropriately into other already established communication channels. This means developing clear guidelines for how communication within the software should be conducted. One of our customers, COOLA, a skin and beauty care company, integrated their Chatter (instant messaging) into Specright’s Specification Data Management Platform to provide more visibility into questions, requested changes, and approvals.
Companies should also see where there is an opportunity for automation, that can further increase the efficiency and usefulness of the software.
Even with access to valuable software tools, teams who are not using them wisely will not reap their benefits. And even after standard practices for these management tools are laid out businesses should regularly monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of communication on the platform and continue to identify any areas for improvement.
Don’t Waste Time and Money; Communication is Key
Communication silos and misunderstandings are a huge waste of time and money and something no company wants to deal with, especially in today’s challenging climate.
Through the implementation of Specification Management tools and a strong data foundation, companies will begin to understand the value of streamlining communication and transforming their business.
From improved business collaboration and relationships to more efficient new product development and innovation, tracking data in real-time allows companies to drive profitability for all stakeholders.
With tools such as Specright’s patented Specification Data Management platform, efficiency, and effectiveness during the decision-making process for any company will become the new norm.
To learn more about how Specright can teach you more about streamlining communication with Specification Management tools request a demo here.